As contemporary arts institutions, we must recognize our capacity to provide visibility for narratives that have been erased and overturned. In light of the recent escalation in violence against the Palestinian people, and the exposed…
As contemporary arts institutions, we must recognize our capacity to provide visibility for narratives that have been erased and overturned.
In light of the recent escalation in violence against the Palestinian people, and the exposed ongoing oppression, displacement and apartheid of the Palestinian people, we’d like to express solidarity and support for the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom, justice and representation. We condemn the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories, and the ongoing violence which continues to dispossess individuals of their agency and human rights, including access to their rightful homes, medical and cultural infrastructure, and the most basic necessities for living. The recent escalation of events has exposed the deeply rooted settler colonial violence of the occupying state which centres a zionist narrative that has, unfortunately, convinced many of its right to be supported on religious principal, yet sits in stark contrast to the moral teachings of any democracy or religion.
The Palestinian fight to regain sovereignty is in many ways parallel to the struggles that Indigenous nations on Turtle Island face, which we stand in solidarity with as individuals and endeavor to more fully support as cultural organizations. As we continue to work towards acknowledging and undoing the colonially rooted violence which has taken place on the stolen lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, we urge our community to consider the way in which the Palestinian struggle is deeply tied to notions of Indigenous sovereignty over settler colonialism, the public funding of oppressive forces like the police and military, and most of all, basic human rights. While we should not decenter the needs of Palestinian peoples in these conversations and actions, it is important to recognize that systems of oppression reinforce one another, and cannot be fought in isolation, and as such, being both pro-Palestine and against anti-semitism are not mutually exclusive positions.
The Arts and Culture sectors are reflections of current and historical economic forces. We must question how our social, economic and cultural positioning (on individual and collective levels) contributes to the unyielding oppression of the Palestinian people.
We encourage our community to express solidarity with the Palestinian movement by participating in all calls to action: speaking out, seeking out and sharing unbiased and updated sources of information, contacting your Member of Parliament, attending protests, signing petitions, donating funds where necessary, and, very importantly, learning from grassroots resources and participating in the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (www.bdsmovement.net).
From the historical experience of the cultural boycott of South Africa, which largely contributed to the end of that apartheid, we urge our larger community in the Arts and Culture sector to consider the role we can play in placing external pressure on the Canadian government to end the support of the disproportionately violent and oppressive state of Israel and recognize the Palestinian right to liberation, safety and self-determination.
We’d like to extend our support and resources to the local Palestinian community by inviting them into our spaces, but by also urging you to enter into their space to learn from a perspective that has been silenced for 73 years.
Accounts you can follow to stay updated on local and international affairs:
Embassy Cultural House: The State of Palestine
Open letters to sign:
Zandi Dandizette, President, PAARC, 778-835-9819 or firstname.lastname@example.org